I started the blog that would become The Great Fiction on February 15, 2012. Almost exactly seven years (and two name changes) later, I’ve decided that this blog has run its course. I’ve tried to think of clever or interesting ways of announcing or explaining this, but I just haven’t been able to come up with anything that doesn’t seem terribly self-indulgent. Nor has this decision been fueled by any grand reasons or dramatic changes that would be all that interesting to the reader. Rather, a multiplicity of smaller factors has led me to conclude that this is the right choice.
It’s not important to list all of these factors, but I will mention a few in the interest of clarity. First, looking back over what I’ve written, the articles I’m proudest of took weeks, sometimes months, to write. Conversely, the articles that have caused me the most retrospective embarrassment have been written quickly. The former were written with facts and details in hand, the latter relied more on emotions and inferences. I’ve realized that not only does good writing (and having well-founded opinions) rely on having a decent command of the relevant facts, and treating them fairly, but that I also am not concise enough, or enough of an expert, to write this kind of article consistently enough to keep my own blog afloat. Put more simply, if I restrict my writing to the kind of article I’m proud of, I won’t post enough content to keep this blog relevant.
Related to this is that I have reached the conclusion that we live in an overly-opinionated world, in which technology, poor schooling and worse manners have combined to not only give nearly everyone the false impression that their opinions – no matter how poorly developed, fallacy-ridden or empirically wrong – are worth hearing, but to allow them to indulge that belief. In fact, large numbers of people don’t just share their opinions, they inarticulately shout them, digitally if not literally, as loudly as they can. I’ve become intrigued by the question of if attempting to add my own voice to the discussion serves a lasting purpose, or merely adds to the cacophony. On this question, I’m still undecided, but I think it likely that the world can survive without one more blog.
Finally, and also related to the first point, I’ve realized that an opportunity cost of writing this blog is that I read less than I otherwise would. Having reassessed a fair amount of my past positions over the last year or so, I more than ever acknowledge the value of challenging conclusions and adding depth and breadth to my learning, and I have come to prioritize these more highly than over-sharing my own opinions.
Thus marks the retirement of this site, but not necessarily of my writing. Writing is, to me, not only an enjoyable hobby, it often helps me organize my own thoughts, and is therefore something that I will probably continue to do (in the right way) in the future. There are, fortunately, many online outlets available for anyone with even a slight ability to write, and I am further fortunate to have developed friendships with people who have in the past been willing to publish my work. Some websites on which the reader is most likely to find any future articles of mine can be found on my Books & Sites page, a page which lists resources that I find indispensable to a proper understanding of libertarianism and conservatism, and which I encourage anyone reading this valedictory post to explore.
To the people who have encouraged me in writing here, who have read and commented and shared, I offer my sincere thanks. I’m not naive enough to think that anything I’ve written has had a dramatic impact, and in fact I stated in my first official blog post, now mercifully lost to time, that I had no expectation of such an impact. I hope that whatever I have gotten right here has helped add to someone’s understanding, and that whatever I have gotten wrong has been immediately dismissed and forgotten.
I titled this post “A Valediction” because a valediction signifies both an end to something and a larger sense of continuance. This blog has served its purpose, if only in the development of my own opinions and the pursuit of my own beliefs. The Great Fiction has now ended (though its archives will remain), but that pursuit continues.